Subscribe to newsletter

Custom Search 1

You are here

Migration of Lebanese youth: Red alert on the occasion of the International Youth Day


Al Akhbar and Al Nahar newspapers published two articles about the migration of young Lebanese women and men on the occasion of the International Youth Day (August 12th of every year) in an attempt to raise awareness about this chronic but escalating trend.
Al Akhbar notes that 52% of the Lebanese men aged between 35 and 39 are migrating compared to 45% for women.  Former Minister Charbel Na7has notes in an interview with Al Akhbar that the Lebanese society is slowly moving to resemble the Gulf model where there is high dependence on temporary foreign labor, coupled with the growth of those economic sectors that rely on low skilled and low paid labor but not requiring high technical or human investments.
Na7has also noted the low level of participation of women in the world of work despite the fact that the proportion of women enrolled in university education is higher than men.  Thus, he saw is no point in investing in girls and women’s higher education if they end up as “housewives” after that.  In an attempt to explain this phenomenon, he added that this may be due to the fact that women still believe that the investment in their education is only to be used to benefit their children as well as have better marriage opportunities.
Na7has also pointed out to the lack of a population census in Lebanon since 1932 as well as the absence of credible and reliable national statistics except for three key surveys namely the study carried out by the Central Administration for Statistics on Labor Force (1970), the second on the labor force and household budgets in 1996, 1997, and the last one of 2007.  Finally, Na7has emphasised the importance of using these three studies in all discussion matters related to demographics, work, social conditions, household expenditures and consumption and income in Lebanon.
Within the same vein, Riad Tabbarah of MADMA (Center for Development Studies and Projects) noted in his interview with An Nahar that the main reason for the immigration of youth is, according to field studies, the search for decent work as defined by the ILO, namely work that secures fair income, sustainability and protection from exploitation.  Tabbarah further added that a study carried out by the Saint Joseph University on youth migration, and covering the period extending between 1992 and 2007, indicated that a high percentage of young immigrants (43% aged between 18 to 35 years) are university graduates of whom 37% are trained in engineering, IT and sciences, 30% in administration and services and 13% in medicine.  The same study also showed that the percentage of young immigrants with high degrees is higher than that of young residents and is continuously increasing thus indicating that the migration of brains and skills is higher amongst trained and educated young people and is increasing with time.  Tabbarah also focused on the negative correlation between immigration and employment, thus explaining that once the growth of economy surpassed a certain rate (approximately 3%), unemployment in Lebanon start decreasing as well as migration to seek job opportunities outside.  He also pointed out to the importance of remittances from Lebanese working abroad and which reaches circa 7.5 billion yearly, according to MADMA’s studies, and which makes up around 17% of the total GDP, thus concluding that remittances are a main contributor to the growth of the Lebanese economy and plays an crucial role in stabilizing the balance of payment and the national currency.
In conclusion, Tabbarah pointed out to five key issues which need to be taken into consideration when discussing youth migration, namely:
The remittances of Lebanese migrants which constitute a form of safety net for the local economy;
Youth suffer most from high unemployment and tend to migrate in search for decent work that meet their aspirations. This acts to restrain local unemployment by providing local opportunities to less qualified workers (!?)
The Lebanese emigrants play an important role in supporting Lebanon economically, culturally and politically;
Migration mostly affects those who are most skilled and educated and constitutes a major waste of economic resources;
Extensive migration has negative social implications.  According to Tabbara, the migration of males in the past has increased celibacy rates amongst women and has also resulted in an increase in the migration of non-married women.  This migration has resulted in leaving behind a cohort of elderly people who do not have any family care and thus increasing the demand for nursing home for the elderly and who are no longer able to meet this increasing demand.
Source: Al-Akhbar, Al-Nahar 12 August 20

Share on



No upcoming events

Job vacancies

Sunday, May 15, 2016
Justice Without Frontiers
Friday, October 9, 2015
Collective for Research and Training on Development - Action (CRTD.A)
Monday, August 31, 2015
KAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation